30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 26-30

Happy Thursday everyone! Today’s the last installment of my 30 Days of Thankfulness. We made it! Thanks so much for joining and reading.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault

Day 26: HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY to our sweet twin nieces, Kendall and Madison! I seriously can’t believe these little girls are already four years old…time is just flying by. So glad we got to see them over Thanksgiving. They are at an age where they are so chatty and want to tell us everything! We had the best time playing with them, learning all about Disney princesses and loving them up. Love these sweet girls so much! ❤


Day 27: Today I’m very grateful for both of my parents. My mom and dad mean the world to me and I’m so lucky to have them as parents. They have not only made me into the person that I am today, but have loved and supported me unconditionally. I’m so thankful for all that they have provided for me over the years and for all their love. I love you mom and dad!

Day 28: Giving Tuesday! Today I participated in my first Giving Tuesday and donated to two organizations that are important to me. One organization I donated to was JLSB and the other was Mindful. Since moving to SB I have been getting more involvSTACKED.pnged within the community through the Junior League. I’m very thankful for this organization and for the opportunities it has provided me with so far. Meditation and mindfulness are also really important and big parts of my life. Naturally, I had to donate to Mindful. I love reading all of their articles and staying up to date with best practices. I am eternally grateful for my practice and would be lost without it.

Day 29: Finally getting some cooler/chilly weather. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of sun and blue skies in SB, but it feels pretty good to put on boots and a sweater these days! I’m also feeling very thankful for the health of all our friends and family.

Day 30: Being alive! These quotes and images are beautiful and represent perfectly how I feel.

To be able to experience all that life has to offer is truly a blessing. I’m so thankful for the experiences I have had, the people who make up my life and for being able to continue on this journey called life. I fully believe in practicing gratitude and giving thanks for everything (even the small things) that we have in life.

In thinking more about gratitude, I came across two really interesting articles. The first is from Mindful.org discussing the amazing effects of gratitude. Check it out here. I love the definition of gratitude they provide:

“The quality or condition of being thankful; the appreciation of an inclination to return kindness” –The Oxford Dictionary

The other article is from Robert Emmons that details why gratitude is good. A few things he highlights are:

  1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present.
  2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions.
  3. Grateful people are more stress resistant.
  4. Grateful people are more stress resistant.

Additionally, some of the benefits of practicing gratitude include:                                         heart-tree-Fotolia_46519422_XS.jpg
• Stronger immune systems
• Lower blood pressure
• Sleeping longer and feeling more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated

All of this resonate with me so strongly! Since starting my meditation practice and doing my daily/yearly gratitude journal, I have experienced many of the above benefits. If you don’t already keep a gratitude journal, I highly recommend you start one. It’s a pretty easy habit to form and makes you feel so good. Happy gratituding!

Thank you again for joining me in another series of 30 Days of Thankfulness! I truly feel that we all have so much to be thankful for and I hope you enjoyed this series. Looking forward to doing this blog post again next year!

Have a great rest of your week!







30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 18-25

Happy Sunday! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and maybe enjoyed some Black Friday sales.

Here is installment #3 of 30 Days of Thankfulness…better late than never. Enjoy!

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” — Henri Frederic Amiel

Day 18: Attending the USC-UCLA Game! FIGHT ON! Sherry (Chris’ mom) got us some pretty sweet tickets in the 2nd row! Waaaahooooooooo! We were last at a home game in 2014 where it was like a million degrees and I almost died of heat stroke haha. Luckily this game was at 5pm and so much cooler. #pac12afterdark

Thank you Sherry for awesome seats and tickets to the game. We had a BLAST! So happy USC beat UCLA 28-23. Next up, PAC 12 Championship Game! We’ll see ya there! #FTFO #fighton #usc #gotrojans #beatthenorth

Day 19:  Today I am thankful for Emma & Dash. Life with dogs is just so much better. I love these pups more than anything and feel pretty lucky to have them as a part of our family. I honestly can’t remember what life was like before dogs.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Roger Caras

Today and every day I feel very grateful to be their dog mommy and don’t know what I would do without them. ❤ ❤

Day 20: An office with a view! Right outside my office is the Cheadle pond. I love not only having a view outside my office window, but watching all the wildlife in the pond.

Throughout the day people come and sit by the pond, feed the ducks, feed the koi or just take a few minutes to enjoy the view. This pond is also cleaned every Monday (I should know, I see it every week)! Today while watching the pond get cleaned I could also hear the carillon bells from Storke Tower. Feeling very lucky today to have this kind of view at work and to hear the carillon bells. Sometimes UCSB you can be pretty great.

On my walk over to Chris’ office after work, I witnessed an amazing sunset. The sky was lit up with these intense pinks and purples. It looked like the sky was on fire but with pink and purple flames. Love those fall SoCal sunsets…I just can’t get enough!

Day 21: Transition House Impacts Project with JLSB. Transition House is one of our community partners that we work with in Santa Barbara. We prepared food to be served at their annual Thanksgiving banquet for families in their shelter. We also made Thanksgiving decor and kids activities for their dinner.


It felt so good to be doing something like this and giving back to my community. Thankful for finding an organization like the Junior League that allows me to get involved with my community and to give back. ❤

– ALSO –

HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY to our sweet nephew Colton and to my sister-in-law Kristin! Looking forward to seeing them both along with the twins, Kendall and Madison and meeting our new nephew Brennan.

Colton is just the sweetest! Just love this picture with his sisters.

Day 22: I love both of these quotes and found them especially fitting as we get closer to Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to having a few days off from work and spending time with friends and family. Choosing to be grateful every day and counting my blessing not just today, but every day!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone! Got off work early (at 3pm) today so now it’s time to start baking pies and getting ready for Thanksgiving. Hope you all enjoy delicious foods tomorrow with friends and family.



Today I am incredibly thankful for so many things, but most importantly I am thankful for FAMILY. FAMILY is EVERYTHING! I’m looking forward to eating lots of yummy food, relaxing, walking the pups and enjoying the day. This year we will be celebrating with Chris’ mom. Looking forward to doing more of the cooking this year and going to San Diego to celebrate with my sister-in-law and our niblings. Although I won’t be with my immediate family, I will be thinking of them. I love my family so much and don’t know what I would do without their love and support! Hope you all enjoy the day with loved ones. ❤ ❤

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” — W.T. Purkiser

Day 24: Meeting our new nephew Brennan Andrew Cline. Had a wonderful day visit with the Clines today. So glad we live closer and can hopefully see them more often. Can’t believe we’re Auntie Risa and Uncle Chris again! ❤ ❤ ❤

Day 25: Spending time with Dan & Jess in Huntington Beach.

We call ourselves the McDahlins and seriously have the very best time together. I’m so thankful these crazy kids live so much closer to us now. It’s pretty funny that we are all in SoCal now…who would have thought. Love you guys! Feeling so lucky to have awesome friends who are family now. I see many more adventures with the McDahlins! Here’s to a lifetime of friendship. ❤

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” — Dalai Lama

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend and we’ll see you back here next week for the last installment of 30 Days of Thankfulness.



30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 10-17

Installment #2 of 30 Days of Thankfulness. Enjoy and HAPPY FRIDAY!

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Day 10: No work today in honor of Veterans Day tomorrow! Sometimes it’s the small things that count. Today I’m also thankful for our amazing dog groomer, Claudia who is still grooming Emma & Dash even though we live in SB. She always finds the time to squeeze us and does such a great job on our babies! ❤ ❤ ❤


Day 11: Celebrating my bestie all weekend for her bachelorette party!! Ashley and I have been friends since 7th grade and I’m so excited for her wedding in March! I can’t wait to see my best friend marry the love her life in Jamaica. We had a blast hanging out in Aptos/Santa Cruz all weekend and wearing matching flannel shirts. I’m so grateful to have a friend like Ashley. Love you chica! ❤

Also, a big thank you to all our military personnel for the sacrifices you have made for our freedom. Today we HONOR YOU and THANK YOU! HAPPY VETERANS DAYS!

Day 12: Sunday night movie night! Just what we needed after my bachelorette party planning weekend and the long drive from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara. Thank you Tof for doing all the driving and letting me pick the movies!

Day 13: Today I am thankful for JLSB Neighborhood meeting I attended. Back in August I decided to join the Junior League of Santa Barbara. I figured it would be a good way to meet people, get involved and give back to my community. During November, instead of having our usual large general meetings we have smaller meetings hosted by different JL (Junior League) members. These meetings take place at someone’s home and are more casual and social. It was so fun meeting more women in the league and getting to know them better.

I’m excited for my involvement with JLSB and what the future holds with this organization. Overall, JLSB promotes volunteerism, develops the potential of women and works to improve the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Apparently there are 292 Junior Leagues in four countries! Each Junior League has a Focus Area and ours is helping to improve the lives of at-risk young women by educating & empowering them to reach their full potential while working to prevent exploitation and injustice in our community. We do a variety of community projects (or “Impacts”) throughout the Santa Barbara community. Can’t wait to get more involved!

Day 14: Becoming an Aunt for the 4th time! Welcome to the world BRENNAN ANDREW CLINE. Big congratulations to the Cline Family who are now a party of SIX! I just know Colton, Kendall and Madison are going to be best big siblings to Brennan. Love you all and can’t wait to meet sweet Brennan! Here to becoming aunt and uncle again! LOVE our four niblings to pieces!

Day 15: Happy 3rd Birthday Dash! This little guy is our wild one and certainly keeps us on our toes! He’s also the ultimately snuggle bug and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We love you so much buddy!


Day 16: Thankful to be living in a beautiful place like Santa Barbara. I mean I guess you can’t beat these kinds of views on your lunch break or around town…

Although I’ve previously lived in Santa Barbara for 6 years, coming back and making this transition has been harder than I thought it was going to be. I really miss my family, friends, old job (this is shocking to me), my old co-workers and the Bay Area. Moving, taking risks and starting new jobs is hard! I’ve only been back in SB for five months and am trying to be patient as everything settles. Sometimes it’s hard to be patient, but I’m taking it one step at a time and trying to enjoy those beach views because I CAN!

Day 17: My hubby. This guy is my best friend, partner in crime, love of my life and the one who makes me complete. I am so thankful for his continued support, encouragement, love and push to be the best version of myself! I love him more than words can describe and I don’t know where I would be without him! The end of 2016 and start of 2017 have been quite the adventure. THANK YOU Chris (Tof) for all that you do, for loving me unconditionally and keeping things moving forward for us despite all the craziness we add to our life. You are simply the BEST! ❤ ❤

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding.” – Alice Walker

TGIF everyone. Enjoy your weekend!


Happy 3rd Birthday Dash!🐾💕🎂



Dash, you are a wild one and certainly keep us on our toes…but you are also the ultimate snuggle bug. We love you so much and can’t imagine our family without you!


Tonight we will celebrate with some new toys, lots of playing and maybe even some special homemade treats by Dad! I feel so very thankful to have two amazing pups in our life. They make our family complete and we love them more than anything.



30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 1-9

Welcome back friends! Glad you are joining me for another 30 Days of Thankfulness. I first started this blog series in 2013 and am very proud to have kept it going. Bring on year #5! You can check out previous post from 20132014, 2015 and 2016.

We really have so much to be THANKFUL for in this life. I think it’s  important to take the time to count your blessing and just pay it forward. Thank you for letting me share with you!

Day 1: A new month and Day #2 of another meditation challenge with Depak Chopra & Oprah. Check out their 21 Day Meditation Challenge and join me!

Day 2: Wonderful evening having dinner and catching up with Paul & Lee D’Anna! I first met Lee (Shutterbug) at Diamond Crest Girl Scout Camp and ended up babysitting their two daughters (Holly & Claire) until I went away to college. Although I probably hadn’t seen them since 2003, it felt like old times. Loved hearing about retirement and van life on the road. Paul & Lee are both retired now, have downsized and are traveling all over the US in a van they custom built for their travels. Sounds like the life to me! I’m so very glad they stopped in SB. Looking forward to hearing more about your travels and seeing you both again soon! unnamed

Thank you Paul and Lee for the opportunity to babysit your girls and be a part of your family! ❤

 Day 3: Yay for a short work week! Soooo looking forward to having Friday off from work and getting a 3-day weekend!

Day 4: Spending the day (weekend) with Erin, Scott and Lucy! Erin and Chris met during PA school and have been really good friends since then. It was such a pleasure having all three of them in SB for the weekend. We had a blast just catching up, playing with Lucy and even going to the zoo! So glad to have friends that really feel like family. ❤

P.S. Lucy is probably the cutest little ever and was so easy all weekend! Can’t wait to see them again soon!

Day 5: Witnessed the most gorgeous sunset on our evening walk with the pups. We literally stopped and just admired the sky, watching as the vibrant reds and oranges took over the sky. It was amazing. I forgot how stunningly beautiful the sunsets are during the fall/winter in SB.

Day 6: Feeling the NODA love even though I’m not at the conference this year 😦 . Got a few texts from fellow colleges at the conference who shared that I was missed. Awww ❤ This certainly tugged at my heartstrings (I was really, really hoping to be there), but made me feel good that my presence was missed. Hoping some day to be back in the orientation world and able to attend another NODA conference. You can read about when I went to NODA in 2015 and 2016.

Day 7: The ability and privilege to VOTE! Last year was a little scary (can’t believe it’s already been a year)…but I feel very thankful to have this ability and hope everyone gets out there and VOTES!

Day 8: Glad to have a co-worker that has become a really wonderful friend. Lauren, I am so, so glad we started at L&S together. At the end of the day, this girl just gets me. I’m so thankful to not only have her as a colleague but as a friend! I’ve got her back and I know she has mine!


Here’s to my work twin Lauren! ❤

Day 9: Huge CONGRATULATIONS to my husband who PASSED the PANRE!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PANRE is the Physician Assistant National Re-certifying Exam, which has to be taken every 5 years for him to continue being a PA. They are in the process of changing the requirements so it’s likely he won’t have to take it again for another 10 years! Way to go Tof/Chris!!! So incredibly HAPPY, EXCITED and PROUD of you for passing the PANRE!! Knew you could do it, way to go!!! Love you! ❤

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu



November 1st & 1000 Days of Meditation

Happy Wednesday and Happy November 1st! Hope everyone has recovered from the Halloween celebrations last night. We had a pretty low-key evening…pizza, movies and lots of trick-or-treaters! Of course I made sure we lit all our candles and soaked up/enjoyed all of our Halloween decorations ONE.LAST.TIME. 😦  #sadhalloweenisover

And like that…October is GONE and November is here.


October seemed to fly by again this year, but we had a ton of fun and packed a lot into it! I say this EVERY year, but I get a little sad when the month of October is over. It’s may favorite month and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I guess it’s until next year October/Halloween…you will be missed!

Today is also an exciting day because today I have reach 1000 DAYS OF MEDITATING! Can you believe it?! 1000 days!


I’ve been using the Stop, Breath & Think app and absolutely love it! Super easy to use and they have so many different meditations. I love being able to “check-in” everyday, list how I am feeling and then have meditations suggested for me. It’s also pretty neat to see your check-in/meditation streaks. Today’s is especially awesome with 1000 across the board!

You can read about when I reached my first 100 days of meditating here and my one year. Meditation has had a huge impact on my life and this is something I plan on always making a part of my daily routine. I’m so very thankful to have found meditation and am excited for the journey it’s taken me on.Be-Thankful-Print-Image

November is also the start of my 30 Days of Thankfulness series on my blog. For the past 5 years, I’ve been doing this series and plan to keep it going. 30 Days of Thankfulness first appeared on my blog in 2013. I also keep a daily gratitude journal on my phone, but really love this blog series during November. You can check out previous series post from 201320142015, and 2016. Please feel free to join me in this series/challenge. I will be posting a recap every 8-9 days or so, as to not totally inundate you with blog posts. My first post is scheduled for November 9th. Hope you join me and cheers to year #5!


Happy Halloween!! 🎃👻🍭🎃👻🍭


Today is the day. It’s finally my FAVORITE holiday of the year!




This is the first Halloween with my new office at UCSB. They seem to get pretty into it, but only a few people decorated their offices. Our theme was classic Halloween. Love it! We had lots of witches (including me), cats and a variety of other characters. We also had a potluck at lunch so that was fun.


Still really missing my old coworkers from SJSU…we did Halloween BIG! Can’t wait to see how their themed costumes turn out this year. Love and miss you guys!


Now for some pictures with my handsome hubby! Chris went as a Ghostbuster (classic and perfect) and I was a witch.


Enjoy a spooky night with friends, family, ghosts and goblins! Be safe and have lots of FUN! We plan on passing out lots of candy, eating pizza and enjoying a scary movie or two!

See you tomorrow for the start of November. How can that be?!?! Can’t believe my favorite month and holiday are coming to a close….still time to enjoy a little more!

Xo 🎃 👻